Six predictions to raise spirits

Derek Kaufman, president of C3 Network Inc, says he's in the prediction business.

And with that at the forefront, he greeted his “Overview and Opinions” audience with six predictions that he predicted would raise their spirits on the future of the industry and give them a rising expectation on their personal position.

“We have to watch ourselves,” he said. “We can get negative very quickly. But at end of the day, our businesses don't run just on cash flow and earnings. They run on positive energy and rising expectations. We need to be working toward that added opportunity to keep the momentum of our company going.”

His six predictions:

  • The North American union conspiracy is bogus.

    “You may have heard about the superhighway running from Mexico to Kansas City. You might have heard about the Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement of 2005, and the panic that has surrounded the notion that Canada, Mexico, and the US would break down borders and form this North American union with a common currency. Add to that the rumors that China is building deep-water ports in Mexico to worsen our balance of trade, and you have a real conspiracy. The facts are these: Since NAFTA was put in place, trade between the US and Mexico has doubled, and 75% of that trade goes through Texas. They need a better infrastructure, but the federal government doesn't have the authority to deem something a superhighway. One of the true parts is that China is building deep-water ports, but it's more in reaction to the amount of time spent waiting to get into Long Beach.

    “If you take a look at this whole thing, we ought to have a rising expectation that through the number of years that go by, our working relationship could in fact diminish the need for Mexican workers to cross the border in search of higher pay. This might in turn reverse the irrational response of immigration authorities that in clamping down on illegal immigrants also clamps down on the very legal immigration that has built this country to what it is. The debate last year on illegal-alien amnesty truly showed the power of the American people. No matter how thick the ear wax in Congress is, they heard.”

  • Your carbon footprint will become your friend.

    “The reality of global warming: It's not about the climate anymore. It's way more pragmatic. I'm here to tell you that apparently the debate is over. Time magazine stated last year, ‘The debate is over. Global warming is upon us with a vengeance. From floods to fires to droughts and storms, the climate is crashing.’ I'm going to get more pragmatic on you and tell you that indeed the carbon-footprint people have won. And if you're not positioning your company or your department or household for the future focus on your carbon footprint, you'd better sit down and give it some thought. Here's a prediction: Within the next five years, we will be taxed or fined, or both, based on our carbon footprint. Our businesses will also see an onslaught of good intentions and unintended consequences. If Democrats prevail in November, this will take two years. If Republicans prevail, it will take four to five years.

“Carbon-footprint tracking is a game-changer. It's a whole new way to generate fees off of US businesses. Why is this a reason to be optimistic? Necessity is the mother of invention. One of the outcomes of being carbon-taxed is that the true alternative fuel technology is going to be derived. Coscata is claiming to be able to produce ethanol for under $1 a gallon by using proprietary microorganisms and patented bioreactor designs, all from waste products. Today's waste becomes tomorrow's fuel. Do you want to do something for your children and grandchildren? Break the USA's dependence on oil from around the world, and the whole future changes.”

  • The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well.

    “Small business employs over 50% of private-sector employees and generates 75% of new jobs, and the atmosphere is just right for more growth. People between the ages of 45 and 64 create the most small businesses in the country, but a recent Gallup survey also showed that 75% of teenagers and people in their 20s would rather start their own small business than join a corporation. That's a profound shift. Today's teenagers and 20somethings are the first generation raised in digital technology. They are displaying the creativity using this technology better than any generation in the past.

    “The Web is bringing creativity back. People are moving from passive back to active. In many of the business schools across this country, 40% of students entering have businesses started of their own already. Women start 1600 businesses every day in this country. The surge in creativity will launch an unprecedented wave of innovation in this country in the coming years. Major corporations — the companies most of you work for — will change the way they invest in people. They're going to invest in teams made of a core of folks at headquarters and a whole group of interconnected independents around the world who sign up for a project as a subcontractor. Today, we search for a person with certain skills or experience. The result is that our companies carry lot of mediocre people.

    Tomorrow, we are not going to be so interested in the first person we talk to. We'll develop open-source systems that seek application providers who will use your source code to develop new applications for a fee.”

  • Second and third billion populations are coming online to the middle class over the next 20 years.

    “Today, we have 1.2 billion people considered middle class, and they create every economy out there. Due to the flattening of the world and the moving of manufacturing around the world, there are two billion new people now coming into buying power. They can't afford a $10,000 or $20,000 car, but they can afford a $2500 or $3000 car. And guess what? Renault Nissan has announced a plan to release a $3000 car. GM is working on a $7000 model with Daewoo. I tell you that this is good because it will drive nanotechnology research to generate lower-cost material and components; good because it will generate all-new markets for alternative fuels; and good because the design and component supply and marketing can come from US companies if we simply apply ourselves to it.”

  • Web 3.0 blows away your legacy systems.

    “Web 1.0 was all about content. Web 2.0 has moved from content to interactivity. We're heading toward 3.0 and what people call a ‘semantic web.’ Today, you have to put a tag on everything, and search engines read the tag. The problem is, you put a few words into Google and you get anything with those words. You type in, ‘Radiator 2006 Freightliner M2,’ and you get every used truck for sale and every radiator shop. Web 3.0 will be built on ontologies, which are essentially parts of a very sophisticated thesaurus that are going to get at the interconnected points of what you're trying to get at. So in the future, a search for the radiator on 2006 M2 will start with a simple statement you say out loud: ‘I have a radiator leak on my 2006 Freightliner M2.’ The computer search will go out and find the part number of the new radiator, repair shops, and inventory locations of where to buy one and get your truck serviced. Web 3.0 blows away the proprietary legacy systems.”

  • Google will buy General Motors.

    “Maybe not will buy, but should buy. I was talking with Michael Noblett, chairman of the Intelligent Transportation Systems' World Congress in 2008. We were talking about telematics being a game-changer on how we can interface with vehicles. Think of all the people who want to communicate with a truck going past a certain geographic location. Think about how the semantic web will allow you to increate the efficiency of that truck. Michael casually said Google ought to buy GM. They could give cars away and make more money on the future cash flow of conductivity with that car. I built a whole fantasy off of that. The market cap of Google is between $180 and $200 billion, depending on what the stock market's going to do. GM's is $13 billion. So you form Google Motors. It's still GM. And you sell a 2009 Malibu for $5000. To that car you'd attach a GPS transponder and standard navigation screen to which any advertiser can connect. Buyers can opt in or out. They can say, ‘I don't want the ads; I'll buy it for $30,000.’ Or they can take the other option and buy it for $5000. The average life of a car is 10 years. How many people can tag to that car in a 10-year period for a buck a tag?”

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